Byline: Mary Lou Cowlishaw
Nothing stays the same, especially college tuition costs, although the University of Illinois gave it a good run. It's been 10 years since there has been a major tuition increase.
I won't reveal what tuition was when I attended the school in Urbana-Champaign. It's been long enough that tuition then was about what a few textbooks cost today.
No, it hasn't been so long that students rode horses to class and studied at night by the light of a lantern, but it's been more than four decades.
The U of I has become one of the premier universities in the nation, but its tuition is still low in comparison to most of its counterparts. For instance, the tuition at Columbia University is more than $25,000 for the 2001 academic year.
At Northwestern, it's just less than $25,000. At Michigan State, it's right at $7,000. At the U of I, it's just over $5,000.
That figure will increase by $55 a year over the next two years, but not for all students. The higher tuition begins in the fall this year and applies only to freshmen and first-time students.
Other students will also see a tuition increase, but not as much. At the Urbana-Champaign campus, there will be a 5 percent increase, and at the Chicago campus it's 3 percent.
The increase for new students is expected to generate $23 million per year in the fourth year of the increase for the campus at Urbana-Champaign and $12 million per year for the Chicago campus.
An important factor is that the U of I received nearly $1,200 less in state tax support per student, during the current fiscal year, than it did 20 years ago, once …